Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
Published March 1st, 2011 by Del Rey
Review by N.E. White.
Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch is the second book of the Peter Grant series. In this volume, the reader catches up to Peter, a magical, London constable, just after the shattering events of Midnight Riot (the first in the series, reviewed here).
The book starts out with a musical bang, featuring a jazz staple: Body and Soul. I’m not a jazz aficionado, so I can’t say whether Mr. Aaronovitch pays homage to the song or not, but the story does celebrate body and soul. And when I say body, I mean a sensual celebration of the body, in particular a woman’s body. Things get hot and sexy in this one, folks.
Much like in Rivers of London, Peter Grant gets caught up in the magical underworld of London all over again in Moon Over Soho. We are introduced to a new nefarious wizard that I predict we’ll see more of in the third book, we encounter sexy (and almost sparkly) vampires, and the river gods make a token appearance, as does Peter’s old partner, Leslie – the one with a busted face. The fledgling wizard/constable also has to deal with chimera – the unholy mix of human and animals – sex slaves. Oh, yeah, and there’s something biting off men’s penises.
Sounds all a little scary, huh?
Actually, though I enjoyed this installment in Peter Grant’s story and Mr. Aaronovitch manages to write provocatively (yes, I read the sex scene – twice – and not for clarity), I felt the story was a bit rushed. I kept wanting the story to get back to Leslie and Peter’s mentor, Nightingale. I also hankered for more historical content. That was something I really enjoyed in the first book, and because this one was focused on the music, it just didn’t work as well for me.
With that said, Moon Over Soho delivers in magical punch what it doesn’t in the series’ recurring characters. We get to meet shadowy figures in a sinister plot, and a new adversary that will keep Peter on his toes. The relationship between he and Leslie is evolving, and I’m anxious to see where Leslie does with her time off to heal. All in all, a lot of new story questions that will keep you coming back for more.
Because I can’t put the inner critic in me to rest, I’ve complained, but seriously, this is a great read, and if you haven’t started this series, you should. And when you’re finished with this one, check out Whispers Under Ground, the third in this exciting new series.
N.E. White, October 2012.